With the first pitch of the 107th Fall Classic set to begin tonight at 8:07 pm it is now time to preview what should be a thrilling series from beginning to end between two teams who had completely polar roads of reaching every baseball player’s dream: a trip to the World Series.
For starters just look on paper at the match up between the Detroit Tigers and San Francisco Giants one would think that the Tigers would obliterate the Giants and that San Francisco wouldn’t stand a chance due to Detroit’s advantage in both the lineups and on the hill however baseball is a games where sometimes the unthinkable happens and the unexplainable occurs.
This marks the 19th time which the Giants have reached the Fall Classic, are attempting to win their seventh world title in team history and second in the past three seasons (2010) while the Tigers are getting to the World Series for the 11th time in franchise history (last time in 2006) and hoping to win their fifth ever world title (first since 1984). That may be the only category that the Giants have an on-paper advantage in this series.
The Tigers have the better line up with AL Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder sitting in the middle of theirs. Detroit has the better starting rotation with Justin Verlander (only the game’s best pitcher right now) setting the tome and possibly will have the chance to pitch in three games if the series goes the full seven.
However there are two things that the Giants do have going for them; first off is that they have a certain moxy to them in which they have won their last six elimination games during this postseason run; three versus the Cincinnati Reds in the NLDS and three versus the St. Louis Cardinals in the NLCS. Secondly the fact that in the three occurrences where one team went the distance in an LCS and the other team swept their way through theirs the team that went the full seven games went on to win the World Series, easily at that (the 2007 Boston Red Sox who swept the Colorado Rockies, the 2006 Cardinals who defeat the Tigers in five games and the 1988 Los Angeles Dodgers who got the best of the Oakland A’s in five games as well); there is something to be said about momentum vs rest in this crazy world of sports that we love so much.
Maybe its good for the Giants that Mr. Automatic Verlander (3-0 with a 0.74 ERA, 25 strikeouts, 2 ER, 10 hits, 5 base on-balls and a 0.62 WHIP in 24.1 innings of work this postseason) will be starting game one against them because it will more than likely place them in the familiar position of being down in a postseason series. Once the series is 1-0 Detroit the Giants can begin to loosen up and play as they have when their backs were down during the entire playoffs. His opponent on the hill in game one will be Barry Zito and I for one am not sure that the owner of one of the biggest baseball contract blunders can match Verlander pitch-for-pitch to keep his team in the initial game.
Here are a few hitters to watch for in this series besides the obvious Cabrera, Feilder and even the struggling Buster Posey (8-45 with 2 HR and 6 RBI this postseason):
The first one has to be the NLCS MVP Giants shortstop Marco Scutaro who enters the Fall Classic hitting .354 during the postseason with eight runs cored, four doubles and five runs batted-in.
Next Tigers outfielder/designated hitter and ALCS MVP Delmon Young who comes into this series hitting .294 in the playoffs with two homers, eight runs batted-in and three runs scored.
The Giants Kung-Fu Panda and third baseman Pablo Sandoval who is hitting .320 during the postseason with three home runs and nine runs batted-in.
Finally Johnny Peralta, the Tigers shortstop who is leading all Detroit hitters this postseason with a .343 average and also has two homers and scored four runs.
Here are a couple of pitchers that will also be key in this series besides the obvious ace’s of each staff, Verlander and Matt Cain:
Detroit reliever Phil Coke (7.1 innings pitched, no earned runs, 4 hits, 2 base on-balls, 5 strikeouts, 2 saves and 2 holds during this postseason).
Giants starter Ryan Vogelsong who has been almost as good as Verlander this postseason with a 2-0 record, a 1.42 ERA, 18 strikeouts, three earned runs, 11 hits, six base on-balls and a 0.89 WHIP in 19 innings of work.
Lastly before I make a prediction for the series winner a quick question; will we see a Jose Valverde sighting in a clutch situation with the game on the line?
In the end baseball is a game all about how things play out more they it is about conventional wisdom and statistics and with that being said I’ll take the Giants to win in six games mainly due to the fact that they know how to win when their backs are against the wall and the have to. It would surprise me if the Tigers won because they are the superior team but it just seems like its fate or destiny for the Giants to win it all. Once again I’ll state it so it doesn’t seem as if I’m flip-flopping; San Francisco Giants in six games!